Planned Parenthood is an organization many of us cannot imagine living without. After my first few weeks here in the office, I realized that Planned Parenthood of the Rochester/Syracuse region wouldn’t be what it is without all of the wonderful, passionate and supportive employees working behind the scenes. My next few blog posts here on “Sex. Justice. Change.” will hopefully allow you to become more familiar with the friendly professional advocates we have working at our University Ave. location in Rochester, NY.
One woman that all supporters should know about is Jennifer Cook. Jen is not only a professional, but a true activist inside and outside of the work place. Her down-to-earth personality and positive attitude are just a few of the many things that make her the perfect fit for her job as Community Affairs Coordinator. On Monday, Jen spent her day with a few volunteers phone banking for the Women’s Health Act. Half way through the day, Governor Cuomo’s mailbox was full of messages from supporters just like you! I sat down with Jen to find out more about her daily life, and how one person really can make all the difference.
Elise: How long have you held your position as Community Affairs Coordinator?
Jennifer Cook: I’ve been working as the Community Affairs Coordinator for the past year and a half, but I also volunteered at Planned Parenthood for 14 years.
E: Briefly describe a day in the life of your work.
JC: There is no typical day! I monitor legislative action, both good and bad, that could affect the work that PPRSR does, as well as helping to facilitate any community outreach work. I also help run the VOX chapters, which is our college outreach program.
E: What is your most fulfilling accomplishment, work related and non-work related?
JC: My most fulfilling work related accomplishment is the time that I spent in Mississippi, working on a ballot initiative based around personhood. My time spent there re-energized me to continue making people aware that the issues in Mississippi are not just in Mississippi. As for a non-work related accomplishment, I think just being able to feel like I have come into my own self. Figuring out that the little things don’t always matter as much is an accomplishment. Now, I feel like I can get through anything.
E: If you had one message to send to the public, and you knew they would listen intently, what would it be?
JC: Keep an open mind. Understand that you are not the only person on the planet, and that we need to care about each other no matter what.
E: Besides your work here at Planned Parenthood, what are you passionate about?
JC: My passion led me to my work! Trying new things and trying to experience as much as I can.